Chicago’s Newest Cop Pops The Big Question After Navy Pier Graduation

CHICAGO (CBS) — A big day got even bigger for a new Chicago police officer, when he proposed to his longtime girlfriend right after joining Chicago’s finest.

Gabriel Gamino Jr., 25, not only realized his lifelong dream of becoming a Chicago police officer, he won the hand of his longtime girlfriend, Gabrielle Thomas, when he surprised her with a proposal at Navy Pier, after graduating alongside his fellow recruits.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel even helped Gamino surprise Thomas, standing next to Gamino he got down on one knee on the sunny plaza outside Navy Pier’s grand ballroom, and popped the big question. An elated and clearly shocked Thomas said yes.

“Navy Pier is probably one of the best places I thought to do it. Today just worked out perfectly. It just so happens that we were here. The scenery, the background and all that. It just worked out well,” Gamino said afterward.

Crying and laughing at the same time, Thomas was barely able to compose herself as she showed off her engagement ring. Thomas said she knew Gamino was going to propose, she just didn’t know where or when.

How did it feel having the mayor in on the surprise?

“I don’t even know where to start with that. That was … I can’t even imagine. I’m speechless right now. I just, I don’t know what to say,” Thomas said.

Though he was in on the surprise, Emanuel did his best not to overshadow the couple’s happy moment, offering a quick congratulations before leaving them to celebrate with their family.

“Congratulations, man. Welcome to your privacy. Mazel Tov,” Emanuel quipped as dozens of people watched the happy couple celebrate their engagement.

Gamino said Emanuel overheard him talking about the surprise proposal with his family before he popped the question.

“So I figured might as well just have him in there too, but it was just spur of the moment,” he said.

Gamino said Thomas has supported his dream of becoming a police officer, and given the gorgeous summer weather at Navy Pier, it felt like the perfect time to propose.

“She’s been behind me this whole entire road, and helped me through my downfalls, and everything. So I figured today would be a special day for me, as well for her, because she helped me achieve this goal that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid,” he said.

Thomas, 24, said she and Gamino have been together for four years, after meeting at Illinois State University. She said she feels a combination of fear and pride as her new fiancé gets ready to begin patrolling the city’s streets.

“I know I have the support of all these people behind me, so I know that I’m going to be okay,” she said.

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